Thursday, July 8, 2010

Simplicity 2594, Woven Cowl Top

S2594 Thumbnail

I love a cowl top--very flattering for a small bust--and Simplicity 2594 has some nice design elements. I like the pleats at the front shoulder and the shoulder yoke with back gathers. I cut the front on the bias and the back on the grain, because I wanted to deal with as little bias as possible. I probably should have cut the back on the bias as well, however, as the hang in the back is not nearly as nice as in the front. I bought this polyester chiffon giraffe print fabric online ages ago, probably sometime in 2007, intended to be part of an "Orange Juice and Lemonade" orange and yellow wardrobe. Stashbusting is good (although I still have quite a bit of this left). It's lined with what I believe is a rayon lining, from Jomar sometime last year for $1/yd.

This is part of my endless combinations wardrobe plan of pencil skirts and blousier tops. A red and an orange skirt are both part of the plan (red is done), and this will go with either. Unfortunately, once summer hit I realized that my wardrobe plan is nonsensical as wearing a high-waisted pencil skirt in high heat causes me to sweat intensely where the waistband stifles my torso and arrive at work beyond damp and into dripping. No wonder I make so many dresses! So I can basically only wear these outfits during our two week Spring (if that) and two week Fall (more reliable). Some of the skirts will go into winter with boots, but the tops are sleeveless and springy. *sigh*

Front Facing Although this pattern has nice design and the pieces matched up fairly well, being a Simplicity pattern it is missing some things such as a partial front facing. If you self-line the top, you don't need a front facing, but I was working with a sheer polyester chiffon that needed an opaque lining. I cut a front facing of fashion fabric to an inch below the armscye. When sewing the front neck seam I layered the pieces as: front facing, fashion fabric front, lining, and then flipped the front facing to the inside.

I don't have the instructions right now to refer to, but I am sure they were nonsense. I constructed this by first putting together the front, lining, and facing as described above, then basting the back and back lining together at the upper edge.

Back Yoke Application Next, sew the front shoulder seam by layering: yoke fashion fabric, front (with front facing flipped to inside so it is front fashion, front lining, front facing) all pieces pleated as one, and yoke lining. This means you have a total of five slippery layers at the shoulder while trying to sew the pleats into the front shoulder, so pin well. Others had mentioned that the markings for the pleats don't end up working out very well when you have a bias piece, so I mostly ignored them and just did my best to put three pleats into the front shoulder approximately evenly on both sides.

Next, I sewed the yoke lining to the back unit (back fashion and lining basted together at the top), lining fabric against lining fabric. I was hoping to be able to stitch the yoke as a burrito-type thing (side seams are still free at this point), but it is too short to roll up the entire blouse into it. So instead I turned under the yoke fashion fabric and topstitched in place. (I believe the instructions tell you to sew the fashion fabric first and then turn under and topstitch the lining; MUCH easier to topstitch the outer fabric instead so you can actually see what you're doing.)

Side French Seam Once the front, yoke, and back were all put together, I did French seams for the sides, catching in all the layers--fashion fabric, front facing, and lining--as one.

That just left the hem and the armscyes. I did not do a great job with the armscye; I don't know if the bias foiled me here or what but the gray lining pooches out in the back. I'm sure I should pick it out and re-do it. Maybe in the Fall when I can actually wear this outfit!

Coin Weight In wearing, I found that it was hard to keep the front cowl arranged nicely, as the neckline wanted to spread open and fall off the shoulders. Very annoying. I experimented with twill tape to see if I could ease the back neck into it to shorten and stabilize, but it didn't do anything. So then I started thinking about what I could do to the front to keep it there and hit upon the idea of using a weight. I used to have a ready-to-wear cowl top that had a weight at the bottom of the front facing, so I am sure it is a common thing. I sewed square of stable fabric with a heavy coin inside it (a $5 coin from Hong Kong!) to the inside of the front facing and it now wears perfectly.

Side Back I'm really happy with this top. The design elements lived up to their promise and it was not that hard or time-consuming to sew, and if you use a more stable fabric it would be even easier (though there is a limit to how much body a fabric can have and still look good). It really needs the belt to look nice--at least on my figure. On a bustier woman you might get away with no belt.

I really need to up my game on bias projects. The armscye and the hem on this are pretty bad (the hem is uneven, which I hide by blousing over the belt but you can still totally tell). I've never really bothered to figure out how to sew bias nicely and just avoid it whenever possible. It does create a nice drape, though.

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.

31 comments:

Sigrid said...

Really love to see how this top suits you. I love necklines like these (actually making a cowl neck top myself). Enjoy wearing it.

judidarling said...

This color is smashing on you, as is your haircut. You'll be turning heads when you wear this outfit.
I always learn something from your explanations. The partial facing is one techniques I'll surely try. Well done.

beangirl said...

This is a really great top (even if you do only get to wear it for four weeks). Is the lining just standard rayon lining (or did I miss this somewhere in the post)?

melissa said...

Very nice! You're right - cowl necks really do look fabulous on you! I love the idea of weighing down the cowl facing - usually I just add a narrow strip of fabric to the bottom of my cowl facing which I then tuck inside the centre front of my bra when I'm wearing the top. It has the effect of curing 90% of "leaning over gape" but it also keeps the cowl drapes from straying too far, too.

Adelaide B said...

OOOO this is really cute, and I love the color on you. I sew like a drunkard when making bias garments. Something in me just snaps and all skills fly out the window.

Audrey said...

That is a nice cowl neck top pattern, and you look great in orange. Bias cut and chiffon fabric; that would be a double deterent for me.

Little Hunting Creek said...

This looks great on you! I had an idea that a hem facing treatment might work for bias hems. I might try that when I make this top and let you know.

KID, MD said...

Looks great on you! Orange is so your color. The coin weight was a stroke of genius. Nice work!

Clio said...

Really nice! I'm also a sucker for a cowl neck - they really are universally flattering. Clever solution for the neckline!

Kerri L said...

I love your top! The color is wonderful! So glad I bought this pattern. Thanks for the info. Now to find some fabric to make it up.

Jackie said...

I love your top! I have that exact fabric and just used the last of it.

Uta said...

The top looks great. And I love the giraffe fabric! The colors in your outfit are so nice and summery; I need to go and sew more brights. Unlined cooton or linen in a relaxed pattern may be the solution for skirts, but I'm not sure they're work-appropriate

Karin van D. said...

I love cowl tops too, I think they are so elegant and sort of sexy, without being too obvious. The colours look wonderful on you.

Faye Lewis said...

That is cute especially in that reptiley print.

Trudy Callan said...

Your blouse is gorgeous. I love the color. It's perfect for you. And I love your hair.

Trudy
www.sewingwithtrudy.blogspot.com

Shari said...

Beautiful top! The colour looks great on you. I have this pattern now I can't wait to try it.

Carol said...

Stunning colour on you! I love the fabric.

AllisonC said...

Gorgeous top and a great review. I love the weight idea, I should do that then I will always have change for the bus!

eword10 said...

Gorgeous fabric and top. I love that color on you. And using a weight was sheer genius! Thanks for the tip.

Dana said...

LOVE this outfit on you!

Carole said...

Great color, great outfit for you.

Anonymous said...

This outfit looks fabulous and very flattering on you. I am not sure if it is the color orange near your face or actual highlights in your hair, but your hair style/color looks fabulous as well!! Linda

emadethis said...

Such a great color and style on you! I love the idea of the weight--the cowl sits quite lovely.

I totally came to the same conclusion about pencil skirts and heat. Sad realization, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

gwensews said...

What a scrumptous top! I love the surprise gathers on the back!

Sam said...

Beautiful top! I love the fabric - you have a real knack for pairing the right fabric and pattern. Hopefully you can pair it with a non-sweat inducing coordinate, since it looks perfect and breezy for dc summer. I agree, tailored garments are hell when paired with a dc summer commute - especially when half of metro's cars don't have a/c! gorgeous!

selfishseamstress said...

Wow- lovely. That color is so great on you too.

Kathi said...

What a great top. I have tried to make several versions of this top, but none have worked for me. Maybe I should try one more time . . .

McVal said...

It looks so elegant and effortless until I read all the way thru. Tricky! It is really cute.

A Sewn Wardrobe said...

This is a great top. It would look wonderful under a cardi got work. Thanks for the super-helpful post

Stephanie said...

I love this...I found your blog through a post you left at Sewing with Trudy :D I thought that the picture was a model, and then it was you. Love the colour it look fab on you :)

Andrea said...

That tops looks great on you and I really like the fabric. I have that pattern in my stash. I think I've even cut the pattern pieces, but I have yet to make it.